Philip Waller’s experience of teaching drama to the next generation

June 2023

If you know of In2Drama then you'll surely know of the man who makes it all happen; Philip Waller. Phil has a passion for musical theatre and supporting young people and this is reflected in his work as Head of Drama at Cranleigh Prep School, as trustee of The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and of course as the Founder & Director of In2Drama!

With a breadth of talents himself and a dedication to fostering the future of UK talent, we just had to hear more about what drives Phil on this mission and to document some of the highlights of this work...

Passion and Purpose: A Founder's Journey in Musical Theatre and Youth Empowerment with Philip Waller

- Phil, please share with us where your passion for musical theatre comes from and what aspects do you enjoy the most?

"My passion started as a young boy when my parents used to take me to the West End. I was lucky enough to see some of the great musicals at the start of their journey - Michael Ball in Les Misérables and Aspects of Love in his early years, Cats and Evita with Elaine Page just to name a few. I loved watching all styles of musicals from Starlight Express, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon. We went to all the shows as they opened. Blood Brothers is a favourite, but the original version of Guys and Dolls at the National inspired me to tread the boards at University where I was studying a BEd (Hons) English and Drama. I played “The Drunk” and was in the ensemble in my first year in the University of England’s production of Guys and Dolls. I was sold! The next year I auditioned for Oklahoma and won the leading role of Curly and although felt out of my comfort zone, I went for it and loved it! The following year I played Moonface Martin in Anything Goes which was terrific fun. The theatre never leaves the blood! Whether taking part in the Best of the West for the Ewhurst Players locally or Directing and Producing productions at Cranleigh Prep School, it is all simply a pleasure to be involved in in this art."


- Why do you feel it is important to support the Performing Arts and in particular to give access to such training for young people?

"The performing arts is a vehicle to entertain and to give pleasure, not just to audiences but for those involved in the process and productions. For young people, it not only gives focus, confidence, self belief and a purpose but also teaches teamwork, leadership and learning about oneself. The communication skills that are developed are invaluable and mental health and resilience can be improved with these areas being easily accessible. The story telling and opportunity to develop creativity and create something is so important. The skills required are vital and the concern is that the performing arts is diminishing in schools, due to cost cuts."


- What makes In2Drama special and what is its impact on the local community?

"In2Drama is unique as it is a week’s intense academy where aspiring performers and those who work behind the camera and at the tech desk get to develop and try out new skills with those already currently in the industry, such as our patron Kerry Ellis. The students get first hand feedback from the best, whether Emma Hatton for Musical Theatre, Phoebe Hyder for Movement Direction or Henry Hereford, Acting Masterclass to name but a few. It is unique as the students present each evening, and are taught in small groups allowing one to one focus and plenty of time with the coaches to receive advice. We provide headshots and showreels to help the students to obtain work, win an agent or get into drama or film college. The new Music Production course dove tails with the Film Production module, where the students will get the opportunity to create a short film. The Theatre Tech course and Dance Masterclass also demonstrates how diverse In2Drama is and how it separates itself from other drama workshops. It’s approach and care for the enjoyment of the students and the benefit it will give to them is vital, so age related groups are essential."

The Highlights

A report on just some of the positive impacts of this work & the wonderful achievements of young people through the arts:

If you feel inspired to get involved in the performing arts whether that be as a hobby or future career then please don't hesitate to reach out to Philip Waller for some friendly advice or enroll for the In2Drama Summer Academy!



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